Kung-Fu Panda 2 delivers a familiar feel with enough novelty to keep things fresh.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson Voices: Jack Black, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan ***
With the Shrek series finally coming to a close, DreamWorks Animation takes another of its wildly successful characters into sequel territory, with the follow-up to the 2008 smash Kung Fu Panda. Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, the clumsy Panda who is now the confident and powerful leader of the “Furious Five”. Under their protection, China is at peace. However, this harmony is threatened when the villainous peacock Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) launches an attack on the whole country. Po’s task is made harder when he finds a link between his new foe and his own past. A well-crafted, witty Hollywood sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2’s story does not deviate too much from the first film, but manages to thrill and entertain as much as its predecessor. The excellent use of the 3D format and impressive action set pieces are combined with a sharp script that will appeal to young and old alike. The voice talent is as well cast as ever, particularly Oldman, who manages to muster all his live-action menace and convert it into animated form, while kung fu aficionados will be overjoyed to hear the martial arts legends Jean Claude Van Damme and Jackie Chan in supporting roles. Overall the film is a fun summer outing that will please its audience by delivering a familiar feel with just enough novelty to keep things fresh.